It’s still unclear how a young Albuquerque mother contracted hantavirus, but health officials are warning spring is when the cases surge.
Kiley Lane, 27, was diagnosed in February. She died this week, despite months of treatment.
Hantavirus is spread through exposure to the droppings and urine of certain infected rodents. The most common in New Mexico are deer mice, which have a white belly.
However, the CDC says the white footed mouse found in most of New Mexico and the cotton rat can also carry the virus.
Lane’s family says they have no idea how the young mother contracted the virus.
Researchers say it doesn’t take much to become infected.
“Sometimes patients contract hantavirus and don’t recognize the rodent exposure, so they may have not seen mouse droppings or seen the mice,” said Michelle Harkins from UNM Hospital. “It is possible for you to go into an area and sweep and cleanup and not recognize that you have this exposure.”
Researchers say you can also become infected through a rodent bite, but that is very rare.
They say the cases surge in the spring, likely because rodents become more active this time of year.
The symptoms are similar to the flu.